- Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gives an invitational lecture
Ban Ki-moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, visited Sookmyung Women’s University to lecture on the virtues of leadership.
On March 6th, under the joint auspices of the main library (director Moon Si-Yeon) and Association Corée-France, former UN Secretary-General Ban’s guest lecture was held at the Samsung Convention Center in the Centennial Memorial Hall.
This lecture was arranged as a part of the special lecture series ‘Library, Designing the Future,’ intended to invite notable figures in society to communicate with students and help them to grow as global leaders.
Under the topic of 「From the Perspective of Global Citizens」, Ban introduced his personal experiences working as the chief of international organization and diplomatic official. He gave advice to the younger generation on earning interests in global issues and taking a step towards the global stage.
Former Secretary-General Ban, who emphasized that he has met more world leaders than anyone else has while working as the Secretary-General, chose attentive listening as the most important virtue of a leader. He said, “Normally in Korea, people think leaders should have strong charisma; but a true leader’s roots lie in diligently listening and learning from others.” Subsequently, he added that “People have to humbly lower themselves, and do everything naturally like the flow of water, as it is said in ‘Sangseonyaksu’ from Laozi’s Tao Te Ching.
Former Secretary-General Ban called on the younger generations to have passion and compassion. He sorrowfully said, “With the exception of particular people like Nelson Mandela, most people have passion but relatively lack compassion.” He urged, “University students who will become future leaders, should think about universal virtues of humanity from a global perspective, and take the lead in helping the weak rather than being tied up by grades.”
After finishing the lecture, he spent some time answering questions from students. Upon being asked about the most impressive female leader he met, he chose Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany. He commented that “When she stepped forward and announced to take one million refugees despite political risks, I thought she deserves to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.”
Ban also emphasized the importance of women’s education and gender equality by quoting the article from Forbes, which covered the result indicating that having a higher percentage of female executives leads to better performance. Upon him saying that there were 160 female employees who were hired during his ten years in office, students responded with applause.
The main library, which co-hosted this guest lecture, is planning to continually provide the younger generation with inspirational leaders’ lectures, in which they can communicate and share their insights.